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Socioeconomic and dietary risk factors for anemia in children aged 6 to 59 months.

Jornal de Pediatria 2007 January
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to use statistical modeling to identify risk factors for anemia in children aged 6 to 59 months in the state of Pernambuco, covering socioeconomic and dietary aspects.

METHODS: The sample comprised 746 children aged between 6 and 59 months from the state of Pernambuco. Their hemoglobin was assayed and a 24-hour dietary recall performed. Risk of anemia was analyzed with relation to socioeconomic variables and to dietary intakes, using multivariate analysis models.

RESULTS: The risk factors for anemia were: a high proportion of calories from cow's milk, low density of nonheme iron, low age and low maternal educational level; age was the most prominent factor, with children under 24 months exhibiting 3.61 times greater risk of being anemic than the older children.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the need for a clear picture of the dietary intake of children in Brazil, in order that associations with anemia can be better understood. Our results revealed that the dietary factors which were most responsible for risk of anemia were a greater proportion of calories from cow's milk and lower density of nonheme iron, in addition to age below 24 months and low maternal educational level.

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